On 15 June 1949 the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) met in Paris for a major telecommunications conference called the CITT (Conference International Télégraphique et Téléphonique). This conference focused on things like the normalisation of international telegrams, radio-telegrams, and transport tariffs. The conference lasted nineteen days, concluding on 3 July 1949.
On 13 June 1949 France issued a set of five stamps for the occasion of the CITT in Paris. The highest value in this set, the 100f value, was designed and engraved by Pierre Gandon. This amazing stamp features the Pont Alexandre III with the Petit Palais in the background.
The main focus of this truly stunning stamp, as mentioned above, is Pont Alexandre III. Work began on this bridge in 1897 under the guidance of the engineers Jean Resal and Amédée Alby. Designed by Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin, was a symbol of Franco - Russian friendship, which was established by the alliance between Emperor Alexander III of Russia and the President of the French Republic, Sadi Carnot, in 1891. This alliance was solidified when Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, and President Felix Faure laid the first stone of the bridge on 7 October 1896. When completed, the bridge was inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1900.
The detail Gandon has incorporated into the engraving of the bridge is incredible. Here's a close-up.
In the background we can the Petit Palais, which was purpose built for the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1900. The building was designed by Charles Girault, who won the competition for the privilege of undertaking the design. Construction began on 10 October 1897 and the building was completed in April 1900. The total cost of the Petit Palais at the time of the construction was £400,000.
Only one side of the Petit Palais is fully visible in the stamp, the rest being mostly covered by trees, but what can be seen, its domed roofs, its stunning facade, are spectacular. Here's a look...
I think what captures my imagination most, however, is the details of the tiny door found to the left of the bridge. I love it. The exquisite detail. The mystery of what may be behind that door...
Until next time...